Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Keep Mayow Tidy (and follow the regs!)

 Words by Pippa Moss; Photos A Sheridan

Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, usually held in March, was of course postponed this year – a pandemic arrived! FOMP had planned a litter picking event for it, which we had to cancel. The postponed GB Spring Clean happened in September instead. Friends of Mayow Park couldn’t organise anything big and official with all the social distancing regulations so we just chose a date and gathered six volunteers. It fell under the permitted Lewisham Covid volunteering category of ‘tending and managing habitats’. Our intention was therefore to clear the woodland and grassland habitats within the park of littered items and make them safer for wildlife. We were able to let Glendale (the team that manages the park on behalf of Lewisham Council) and the Safer Neighbourhood Team know the date so they could separately, but on the same date, be in the park too. Glendale helpfully provided bags, picker sticks and took away the litter!

It went very well. Between the 3 groups we collected 24 bags of litter, a random Hoover and a teddy bear as well! We headed into the bushes and woodland areas that we could access so it was a thorough job! Extra point for me for managing to get a sore shoulder from also carrying around a large heavy hand sanitiser bottle in my handbag!

We were all shocked by the amount of wet wipes - they overtook Haribo sweet packets by far this year. These wipes will sit around for years, they don’t decompose and they certainly don’t help the wildlife in the park.      

 I think we all know wet wipes have their uses. I used to pride myself in the baby days of what I could clean up with just one wet wipe - and I always disposed of it responsibly. The fact we probably collected 200 of them shows they are being used excessively and carelessly.


Next litter pick I plan to collect recycling separately - it is rather depressing when it all gets lumped together. It might involve some bag juggling but I think it will be worth it - cans and bottles are a big part of what we collect.

The community has really been enjoying Mayow Park during these last 6 months - we know this space has been really valuable to all of us to escape our homes, which we have spent so much time in. To be honest after all these months of heavy use, the litter pick could have been a much greater challenge - it just shows that most people really are caring for the park. There is also a growing awareness that any bags left neatly tied next to the bins with the best of intention, do in fact end up shredded by foxes. They need to be taken home.

Anyway the great thing is that there are always willing volunteers to help on these litter picks, and anyone who has never used a litter picking stick always states how great they are to use! I’m still trying to find a handbag friendly one... see me soon on Dragon’s Den with my telescopic handbag litter picker invention!

Pippa Moss September 2020

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Clearing the fruit area at the Triangle beds by Pippa

It seems the combination of weather events this year (excess rain followed by warm and dry weather) meant our currant and berry bushes were being heavily invaded by long grass, nettles, 'sticky buds' (also known as cleavers, Latin name Galium aparine) and the odd bramble and in fact when we started this clearing project the fruit bushes were really very hidden. 

As people stopped to say hello we explained what they were and many hadn't realised. Anyway it's pretty rewarding pulling up all that stuff (bar nettles, hate those, I always get stung) and gives you a feeling you are 'freeing' the good stuff. 

The currents and raspberries are already fruiting in small form on the plants so there should be a good crop for people to pick a few as they go past. 

The plum and apple trees look better too. The plum fruits suffer from 'pocket plum' and no longer form proper fruits. 
We cleared loads of 'weeds' the first session. A second session was needed to finish that job - by now I was crawling pretty much inside the fruit bushes as you get slightly obsessed with getting every last strand of grass out.
Alona then wheelbarrowed the good-quality compost we'd created in our bin in the park, and we started spreading it around the cleared beds. It looks really great now.

During these sessions I was very distracted by The Triangle looking stunning with Forget-me-nots (Myosotis) but really taken over by the 'sticky buds' so I couldn't resist clearing some of those out.  There's bindweed in there too though that's a big job for next time.

It was great to be back having a 'presence' in the park (Alona and I working at 2m apart was easy). People do always stop to ask questions and we can remind them about FOMP.

We even had our first FOMP Zoom meeting this week so the Friends certainly are still being active despite many of our planned activities having to be cancelled.  At least we got our new benches (from the Greening Fund) put in just before lockdown. Just a reminder that we always are looking for more people to join the small but active FOMP committee!

Monday, 11 May 2020

The butterfly that couldn’t fly by Indie (age 10)

I’m wriggling around in this little see-through tub. Something is shaking me around but I stick to the side of the tub like the four other caterpillars. I remember lying in the grass, my stomach full of leaf... Now I'm here, but I don’t mind because there’s some kind of brown food-mush at the bottom. I try to talk with my roommates but they just munch on the brown stuff. That stuff is AMAZING. So for a bit, I just lie on the floor, looking at the walls.

Suddenly a giant is staring right at me and babbling on! I don’t speak giant so I wriggle to the other side. It gets quite cold so the giant wraps a soft thing around our tub. It’s a bit loud too - I can hear some weird up-down music. Still, I keep munching and after a while I notice how fat I’ve become! I decide it is time to wrap myself in a cosy cocoon, and I feel safe and secure. But one day it breaks and I am sitting (yes I am sitting - I have legs!) on a paper thing, with a mesh wall towering above me. 

The giant comes along and makes more noise, pointing it’s long pink fingers at me. That’s when I feel something odd on my back, so I squirm around, noticing I can move them! Eventually, I realise if I wriggle hard enough I fly! I go up to the top of the mesh!

By now two other caterpillar mates have come out and boy they look different - like me I guess! Suddenly I'm out in the world! I can see grass and flowers. A giant puts one of his fingers next to me and I climb on. It lifts me onto the grass. I see my two mates fly away. 
Wow! I am all alone because the grass has a tall wood thing around it that I’m just not strong enough to fly over. Wait for me! I flap but nothing much happens. Instead I’m put back in the mesh thing and my freedom is over. The other two cocoons hatch and fly away. I find I want to climb onto that pink finger thing again - it’s fun. I move house into a big tub with sticks and rocks and flowers, and every so often I get a finger-ride out to the grass. I fly onto different flowers, but I can’t fly over the big wood thing!  

One day the giant took me from my tub, on her finger, down a road, to a different grass area that had other giants and was very, very big. As we explored I managed to fly off, but only down, and I landed in the grass. I sensed giants (with their huge feet!) all around me. I couldn’t see my special finger, I couldn’t fly off. I felt really uneasy down there. I suppose it was my fault, I should have stayed put. I heard giants talking - my giant and a new one. I’m here! Then suddenly they sounded excited. At last I was rescued from the huge green world and scooped up and taken home. 

So I stay in my tub, climbing on my friendly giant occasionally, and although my flying skills are quite deplorable, life is good.

Monday, 17 February 2020

orchard winter tree pruning 21st Feb 2020

It is half term and we have a weekday event on Friday 21st February from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Come and join other volunteers at our orchard winter pruning event at the orchard opposite the tennis courts.
Arrive at 10.30 pm for training.
No previous skills are needed as we will show you what to do including how to check the trees, which branches to prune, how much to prune. We will also mulch  the ground under the trees - a task that children can do with parental help.
 There was a huge amount of rain from Storm Dennis last weekend (15th & 16th February) and the previous weekend from Storm Ciara so the ground is saturated. Please wear clothes that you don't mind getting muddy and waterproof shoes or wellington boots.

Gardening in Triangle bed 3rd Feb 2020

Four people came to tidy up the Triangle herb bed on 3rd February. The tall, dead flower stalks from the lemon balm plants were removed and piles of couch grass raked up.
The oregano plants were also dead-headed
 All dead plant materials was taken homeward destined for domestic  gardening waste recycling bins.
The bed is now almost ready to take new seeds and plants after we add compost.

fun tree dressing event 30th November

With 40 people over the morning - adults and children - we had a great session.
Pippa's tree trail saw families exploring the orchard to find labels with letters to make a sentence.
Messages  to the trees, written on ribbons of fabric or leaf-shaped card, were hung on branches. Refreshments were available, including mulled wine.
The morning ended with singing songs relevant to the event, led by Dave.

decorated trees

one decorated tree

singing with Dave

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

workday session on 5th November

November can be rather unpredictable weather-wise so we were delighted that the forecast was for a dry day with some sunshine.
Friends of Mayow Park(FOMP)  had arranged with Glendale Lewisham (who manage the park) that they would come and do some necessary maintenance work with FOMP volunteers working alongside.
Some Glendale staff worked on planned maintenance work elsewhere around the park making the place look and sound like a hive of activity.
We've been awarded funding for more picnic benches - some at the other side of the park and  some for the picnic area, which is why we were sprucing it up.
Overgrown hedge hides seating
We wanted to tidy up the picnic area, clear away some of the overgrown hedge behind the space, tidy up the picnic benches which we acquired some years ago, clean up the sitting benches beside the overgrown hedge and refurbish the triangular green metal picnic table so it will be available to use for many more years.

Glendale brought equipment to cut back the hedge, water to jet wash the picnic benches, sand paper and paint.
While FOMP volunteers and some Glendale staff worked in the picnic area, others removed an old, battered and untidy noticeboard which had long stopped being useful. It took much effort to dig up the concrete base of that one and we were too busy working capture the effort on camera. They also repaired the other noticeboard facing the children's playground and picnic area.
scraping and sanding old paint and rust
sanded and ready for painting

primed and undercoated
First coat of green paint
Did all this effort make a difference?
The seating is visible

Hedge cleared, picnic bench painted
Paint for the picnic benches
We did one more special thing: Mayow Park, along with quite a few other Lewisham parks, was awarded another Green Flag. Glendale, with Pippa's help,  took down the old flag and put up the new one.

Pippa helps remove old flag 2018/19
Pippa prepares to hoist the new flag 2019/20
And then it was time for a group photo, but some were too busy to join us.
Some of us gathered for a photo opportunity
Thanks go to the Glendale managers and all their maintenance crew for coming along to enable FOMP to work alongside them.